In Washington State, there seems to be a great deal of confusion and disinformation on what lane sharing is all about. Experience has shown that when someone is able to be shown what is truly being discussed and what is being used to manipulate their opinion, their awareness is raised. That is essentially what this article will attempt to do. To raise your awareness of what lane sharing really is, and what it is actually about.
What lane sharing is truly about is moving through stopped or slow moving traffic. In this case, it is also additionally restricted to the states “limited access facilities” (freeways). So only when traffic on the freeway is stopped or moving at 25 mph or less, would motorcyclists even be able to attempt this practice legally. Even then, they are restricted to only a maximum 10 mph speed differential above the speed that the traffic is moving. That 10 mph speed differential is a key factor to consider. As is the actual space between lanes of traffic, compared to the perceived space.
The average compact sedan on the road is about 15 feet long. That 10 mph speed equals roughly 15 feet per second. So in the time it has taken a lane sharing motorcyclist to think "One-One Thousand", they have only passed one compact sedan, and not even the gap between cars. As a rider scanning four to five seconds ahead, that should effectively allow you more than enough time to react to developing traffic changes. That is why, as studies from around the world have shown, motorcyclists actively lane sharing are involved in only a fraction of the total number of crashes where it is allowed.
The fact that lane sharing is performed generally during commute times during the weekday, and rarely at night or on weekends, demonstrates that this technique is used by citizens riding to and from their businesses and places of employment. Studies have also shown that lane sharing motorcyclists tend to wear more protective gear, are less likely to be impaired by either drugs or alcohol, and are much less likely to be carrying a passenger. Also; compared to the rest of motorcyclists on the roadways, lane sharing motorcyclists are involved in fewer crashes and have fewer and less severe injuries in general than other motorcyclists. This would seem to contradict the WTSB and WSP's position on the dangers of lane sharing.
However, both the Washington State Patrol and the Washington Traffic Safety Board have resorted to using videos of illegal behavior to demonstrate their opposition to lane sharing. However, the behavior shown in the videos would be illegal under the bill. This can only be viewed as an attempt to manipulate the emotions while ignoring any educational opportunity available.
For example; the Washington State Traffic Safety Board during a 2015 Senate Transportation Committee hearing on a lane sharing bill used as it’s testimony two videos of behavior that would have been illegal under the bill, and one that was edited for shock value in an attempt to show the committee how “dangerous” lane sharing would be. The video clips that showed obvious illegal behavior brought rebukes from the committee member and the committee chair for that reason. The representative from the WTSB could not seem to understand the question when asked if showing someone breaking the law was a good reason to oppose the law.
The shock value video clip was much more damaging, but also much more deceitful. In this clip, a touring motorcycle crashes between a pick-up truck and a semi truck’s trailer. At the point in the video that the rider goes down behind the bike out of vision and the bike comes to rest, the video ends. I have in my possession the full video. Four seconds after his bike went down in this crash, the rider is standing up next to his bike. This video was obviously edited to have the most emotional impact on the viewer. The truth of the clip actually demonstrated the opposite of what was desired by the WTSB. So it had to be altered prior to being shown to the committee. This means that the WTSB used not only videos of illegal activity in its testimony to a Senate Committee, but also that they used a “doctored” video in an attempt to manipulate the committee members emotions.
|WTSB video final shot, leaving viewer with impression crash victim died|
|Frame from same video 4 seconds AFTER the WTSB video ends, which shows|
victim standing and looking down at his motorcycle.
I have been informed by no less than the House Transportation Committee Chair, Rep. Judy Clibborn that the Washington State Patrol is continuing this same effort of emotional manipulation. During a meeting with members from ABATE of Washington, Rep. Clibborn stated that the WSP representative who she had just met with, had shown her a “5 minute long video” of a motorcyclist on a sport bike “racing” through slow moving traffic at high speeds.
This means that in its opposition to lane sharing, the WSP has resorted to using illegal behavior of an individual to oppose a proposed law under which that very behavior would be illegal. It is becoming obvious that the WTSB and the WSP seem to both have resorted to using the concept that if lane sharing becomes a law, people will violate it, therefore it should not be passed.
Sounds like a rather silly argument, doesn’t it? By using that same argument, shouldn’t then all the laws that the motorcyclists in these videos violate not have been passed into law?
How many other laws were violated in these videos that the WSP and WTSB have used in their opposition to lane sharing reckless driving, speeding, aggressive driving, improper lane change, to name just a few. Would the WTSB and WSP argue that those laws should also have been opposed because someone would violate them? Of course they wouldn’t. So what is the real reason the WSP and the WTSB so strongly oppose lane sharing?
Catch ya on the road sometime...